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When to go

The best time for a safari in Kenya is one of the dry seasons, between June and October as well as January and February.  The famous wildebeest herds are in the Maasai Mara in September and October.

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Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

The three republics straddling the Caucasus in the former Soviet Union, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have much in common, yet are each very different indeed. Georgia and Armenia share an ancient Christian culture, whereas the population of Azerbaijan is overwhelmignly Muslim. Georgia offers a huge variety of landscapes, rich culture and incredible mountain vistas; resilient Armenia is home to a plethora of monasteries and monuments; Azerbaijan, the 'Land of Fire' meanwhile, lies at a crossroads of empires, a unique country rushing headlong into the future.

When

Best time to go to

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Places

Best places to go in

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Experiences

Key experiences in

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Itineraries

Best tours in

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Best time to Travel to 

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

The three republics straddling the Caucasus in the former Soviet Union, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have much in common, yet are each very different indeed. Georgia and Armenia share an ancient Christian culture, whereas the population of Azerbaijan is overwhelmignly Muslim. Georgia offers a huge variety of landscapes, rich culture and incredible mountain vistas; resilient Armenia is home to a plethora of monasteries and monuments; Azerbaijan, the 'Land of Fire' meanwhile, lies at a crossroads of empires, a unique country rushing headlong into the future.

Must-See Places in 

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Signature Experiences in

Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan

Tbilisi (Georgia)

While in Georgia's capital be sure to visit the National Museum, the National Gallery, and visit its many churches, including Metekhi Church, lovely Anchiskhati Basilica and Sioni Cathedral.  Ride the cable car up to Narikala Fortress for fine views of the Old Town; in the latter take some time in one of its many quirky cafes.


Kakheti (Georgia)

The Kakheti region is an area of beautiful green valleys, famous for its traditional wine production.  Telavi has a raucous farmer's market while Tsinandalia is a historic estate once owned by the Georgian poet Chavchavadze.  Its gardens are beautifully laid out in the English style.  Alaverdi Cathedral is Georgia's tallest monastery and surrounded by a beautiful cypress grove.


Mtskheta (Georgia)

Mtskheta, the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia is home to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, one of Georgia’s most important religious monuments.  Nearby Jvari Monastery offers great views of the town below.


Tsminda Sameba Church (Georgia)

One of the most instantly recognizable images of Georgia is that of Tsminda Sameba Church.  Stunningly located on a hilltop overlooking the snowy peaks of the Caucasus, it makes for a great destination for a hike.


Gori (Georgia)

The town of Gori is home to the Stalin museum, the Soviet dictator who was born here.  The museum lays homage to its most famous son, conveniently overlooking many of the horrors he perpetrated.  Nearby, the cave city of Uplistsikhe is one of the oldest settlements in the region.


Vardzia (Georgia)

One of Georgia's most famous sights, the cave town of Vardzia is cut into towering cliffs.  Over 500 caves, home to churches, halls, and wine cellars, are all connected by tunnels and stairways.


Gelati Monastery (Georgia)

The UNESCO listed monastery at Gelati is one of Georgia's most important churches.  Gelati turned out many great thinkers and the main Cathedral has some of the best-preserved frescoes in the country.


Svaneti (Georgia)

Surrounded by mountains, the Svaneti region in the Caucasus is famous for its tower-houses, built to protect villagers during times of invasion.  Mestia is the main town here and its Ethnography Museum is well worth a visit, while the surrounding area makes for great hiking.


Batumi (Georgia)

Located on the shores of the Black Sea, and set  against a backdrop of pretty mountains, Batumi was one of the premiere seaside resorts of the USSR.  Its parks, fountains and beaches are still popular with locals.


Baku (Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijan's capital is a city where old meets new, a city running headlong into the future.  Wander around the fortified Old Town or see how a steady influx of oil money has led to a building frenzy resulting in some jaw-dropping architecture.  Climb the ancient Maiden’s Tower for views over the town and bay and visit the Palace of the Shirvanshahs dynasty.


Qobustan (Azerbaijan)

A World Heritage site, Qobustan is one the world's largest open-air archaeological sites, famous for its ancient petroglyphs and even a Roman inscription.  The area is also known for its bubbling mud volcanoes.


Sheki (Azerbaijan)

Sheki, once a thriving market town, has a palace complex with magnificent frescoes and stained glass.  Sheki and nearby mountain villages offer many local craft workshops.  


Yerevan (Armenia)

Armenia's capital is  a town where old meets new and traditional meets designer-chic.  Enjoy its many outdoor cafes where locals come to linger and be sure to visit its History Museum and the Genocide Memorial & Museum.


Monasteries of Haghpat (Armenia)

The two Byzantine monasteries at Haghpat are listed by UNESCO on account of their outstanding ecclesiastical architecture, blending Byzantine and local styles.


Dilijan (Armenia)

Picturesque Dilijan is famed for its well-preserved 18th century houses and tis local handicraft studios.


Lake Sevan (Armenia)

One of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world, Lake Sevan, with its backdrop of mountains, is known for its ever-changing hues.


Noravank Monastery (Armenia)

This spectacular 13th century monastery is a must-see, especially in the evening when the red cliffs surrounding it light up in the setting sun.


Garni (Armenia)

Built in the first century, the Hellenistic temple at Garni was dedicated to the God of the Sun.


Geghard Monastery (Armenia)

The 12th century UNESCO listed Geghard Monastery is carved out of a cliff and set in a beautiful location and has some well-preserved carvings.  


Khor Virap Monastery  (Armenia)

Offering beautiful views of Mount Ararat, Khor Virap is the residence of the Armenian Catholicos and connected to the conversion to Christianity of the first Armenian king.

Step back in time

No matter where you go in this region, history is everywhere.  From the old towns in the three capitals, through the empires of the Achaemenids, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Timurids , Ottomans, Mongols, Russian czars and Soviets, each has left its imprint in the form of ruins, castles, temples, mosques and churches.


Hike the mountains (Georgia)

One of the best hikes in the region is the hike up to Gergeti Trinity (Tsminda Sameba) Church.  The church, stunningly located on a hilltop overlooking the snowy peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, is one of the most instantly recognizable images of Georgia.  Elsewhere in Georgia, the Svaneti region in the Caucasus is famous for its tower-houses and makes for great hiking.  And of course there is the trans-Caucasian Trail, winding its way through Armenia and Georgia.


Drive the Military Highway (Georgia)

Unforgettable views will await you when you drive the Georgian Military Highway from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.


Food, glorious food

Khachapuri (bread stuffed with salty cheese) is a Georgian speciality, while khinkali are the country's famous dumplings.  Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread and lobio, a mixture of beans, coriander, walnuts, garlic, and onion.  In Armenia be sure to try khoravats (barbecue meats), oghee (fruit vodka) and delicious fresh flat bread, known locally as lovash.  Perhaps have it with tomatoes and goat cheese and have some gata (coffee cake) for dessert.  In Azerbaijan, plov is prepared with saffron-covered rice and served with various herbs and greens.  Kebabs and shashlik are other staples.


Taste the wine (Georgia, Armenia)

Zhghia is a naturally fermented dry red wine made from the rarest and highest quality Kakhetian grapes.  The  large earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine known as Qvevri are inscribed by UNESCO in its list of world's intangible cultural heritage.  Areni Village is the place in Armenia to stop at a local winery to taste the best wine in the country


Ride a cable car (Georgia)

When in Tbilisi, be sure to ride the cable car to Narikala Fortress and enjoy the views of the old town.  Batumi too has a cable car up a local mountain which affords fine views of the city.


Visit a monastery (Georgia, Armenia)

Entering a monastery in Georgia or Armenia is like stepping back to the beginning of time.  Be awed by the mystery and perhaps attend a service complete with magical choral hymns and chants.


Wander through old streets

The three capitals, Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan, each have old quarters to get lost in.  Put your map or phone away, just wander and see what you might discover next.


Catch a tune

Music is an integral part to any culture.  In Georgia, be sure to hear the polyphonic songs prevalent in the Kakheti region, while in Armenia the duduk is a flute-like instrument listed on the UNESCO intangible Cultural Heritage List.


People watching in a cafe

Most cities have streetside cafes but Tbilisi has its share of quirky ones while Yerevan has plenty of outdoor cafes, great to watch the world go by and perhaps meet up with locals.


Have a bath (Georgia)

Try a sulphur bath in Tbilisi or a hot spring in central Georgia's Borjomi, famous for its volcanic salty waters and baths.


Visit a dictator

The Stalin museum in Gori pays homage to its most famous son, conveniently overlooking many of the horrors he perpetrated.


Watch a tower

The mountainous Svaneti region in the Caucasus is famous for its watchtowers, built to protect villagers during times of invasion in the early middle ages.  These stone towers served as both homes and fortresses for the local people.


Go to the beach

In the days of the USSR Batumi was one of the foremost beach resorts.  While the apparatchiks are gone, the beach is still popular with locals.

Suggested Tours

East African Wildlife Safari

 

Tour code: FEAW

 

Why we love this trip: Our best-selling safari visiting all major game parks in Kenya and Tanzania

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Samburu, Ol Pejeta, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Lake Victoria, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara,  Amboseli.

 

Signature Experiences: Lots of game drives, Great Migration, village visit, canoe trip, optional balloon safari

 

Length: 14 days

 

Accommodation: Safari lodges & luxury tented camps

 

Included meals: breakfast in Nairobi, all meals while on safari

 

Transport: Minivan & 4x4 Landcruiser

 

Departures: Set small-group dates and daily private departures

 

Customizable? Yes, price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $3995(low season) - $5280(high season)

Kenya Wildlife Safari

 

Tour code: FKWS

 

Why we love this trip: This popular safari visits all major game parks in Kenya

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Samburu, Ol Pejeta, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara

 

Signature Experiences: Lots of game drives, Great Migration, village visit, optional balloon safari

 

Length: 8 days

 

Accommodation: Safari lodges & luxury tented camps

 

Included meals: breakfast in Nairobi, all meals while on safari

 

Transport: Minivan

 

Departures: Set small-group dates and daily private departures

 

Customizable? Yes, price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $1995 (low season) - $2781(high season)

Gorillas & Maasai Mara

 

Tour code: EWYU

 

Why we love this trip: This popular safari visits major game parks in Kenya and offers gorilla tracking

 

Places visited: Nairobi, Lakes Naivasha & Nakuru, Maasai Mara, Jinja, Lake Bunyonyi, Volcanoes NP, Kigali

 

Signature Experiences: game drives, Great Migration, village visit, optional balloon safari, rafting, gorilla trek

 

Length: 16 days

 

Accommodation: full service camping in campsites, permanent tented camps, hotels

 

Included meals: 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners

 

Transport: overland vehicle

 

Departures: set small-group dates

 

Customizable? Yes, we can tailor this in lodges and hotels - price on request

 

Price: Small group departures priced from $3910

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